Reminder: The “Exposure Card” Don’t Pay the Bills
WBTVs Kristen Miranda with the Creative Entrepreneurs Cohort
‘People die from exposure’
Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative helps creatives operate like the small business owners they are
“The Charlotte’s arts and culture sector is changing in big ways. One of the big defining principles … is this idea of creatives as small businesses and being seen in that way, valued in that way, supported in that way and provided resources so they can actually be successful in that way.” – Matt Olin on the Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative
Are you a creative who’s ever been asked to take on pro bono work just for the exposure it will (allegedly) give you? Most of us have been asked to give away our services at one time or another in exchange for “exposure.”
If we don’t value what we do – and put a price on it – no one else will, either. Made possible by a grant from Wells Fargo, the newly launched Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative is helping an inaugural cohort or seven creatives — Jess Dailey, Angela Kollmer, Lucy Phung, Dweh Brown, Sarah Colee, Ernesto Moreno and Irisol Gonzalez — approach their creative work like a business.
Each member of the cohort has received a $4,000 grant combined with 10 classes on project management, legal matters, bookkeeping and more taught by subject matter experts. And, cohort members are paid to attend.
Read on to learn how this program is changing how participants see themselves are creatives … and as small businesses.
Creative Profile: Meet Lucy Phung!
Lucy Phung of ALUPH Studio is one of the seven members of the inaugural cohort of the Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative (CEI), managed by Charlotte Is Creative (publishers of The Biscuit) and funded by Wells Fargo. The program is designed to help these creatives establish sustainable strategies that support them as artists and as small businesses. You can read about the CEI program in the story above.
Phung is a self-taught Charlotte artist whose first public exhibition, featuring original drawings, paintings, fine art prints, T-shirts and more, is happening at the NaDaHood Market at Divine Barrel Brewing from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. More about that here.
While we want you to stop by her booth Saturday, we also want you to get to know the artist behind the art.
“Being a first-generation Chinese-American and a child of war refugees meant art was strongly discouraged as a career choice,” said Phung. “I was always too afraid to make the jump and fully commit to my dreams. My parents believed that only a dead artist can sell art. But, I realized this is my passion and I’m ready to prove them wrong. Art is my channel for telling my story, and yours.”
What are you striving for in your work?
“I like to push boundaries and experiment with mixing different forms of art, to find new ways to tell a story. That approach was what led me to creating a line of T-shirts with original art designed to express deeply meaningful messages.”
What would you say to other creatives about being a small business?
“Entrepreneurship, imposter syndrome and the anxieties of pursuing a creative career are all very real and difficult to work through. It can be incredibly draining and discouraging. So, find a support group or build a team to help you through it. Don’t give up. Your narrative matters. Your creativity and what you make matters. The world needs to see your story and what you have to offer.”
Matt Olin Misinterprets “Holiday Break”
You may have heard that Matt Olin, co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative, took the concept of “holiday break” a bit too literally last weekend — fracturing his wrist in 8 places. Ouch!
Many of you have reached out with well wishes. Thank you for your kindness and love for our man, Matt. We’re happy to say that thanks to the doctors and staff at OrthoCarolina, Matt had a successful surgery Wednesday and is doing well. (We’re still not entirely sure he didn’t break his wrist on purpose just to come up with good content for our longtime sponsors at Ortho.)
Matt’s going to take a few days off to recover, so we’ve postponed the December CreativeMornings Charlotte event (our 6th anniversary) to Jan. 14 so he can celebrate with us. It wouldn’t be the same without him.
You know about The Nutcracker and the tree lightings, but there’s much more going on in the Queen City for the holidays. From concerts to art exhibits, awards to family events, check out these highlights to make sure you are really in the know about all that Ho! Ho! Ho!
PHOTO CREDIT: The Charlotte Ledger
Interact Studio Celebrates an Authentic Voice in Charlotte – Tony Mecia
Tony Mecia, founder and editor of The Charlotte Ledger, was recently named the 2021 winner of Interact Studio’s Community Voice Award. The award celebrates leaders in Charlotte’s community who use their authentic voice to create positive change.
Next Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m., Interact Studio is hosting the final Human Touch online gathering of 2021 with Mecia as the special guest speaker to talk about founding his online publication and growing its audience in a crowded media landscape. Matt Olin and Tim Miner of Charlotte Is Creative will moderate the discussion. (And, maybe spread a little holiday cheer.) Read more about how Interact chose Mecia for this award.
Dammit Wesley’s Hunnid Dollar Exhibit for One Night Only
Curated by artist Dammit Wesley, painter, graphic designer and co-owner and Creative Director of BLKMRKCLT, the Hunnid Dollar Exhibit will feature work from more than 20 artists, including Simplisticphobia, Carla Aaron-Lopez, Carey King, Garrison Gist, CHDWCK!, QN VU and Kiana Mui. All participating have agreed to sell their works at a discounted price of $100 for one night only.
Wesley says, “This is an opportunity to make collecting art more accessible.”
The event is Saturday, Dec. 11 from 4 to 8 p.m. at BLKMRKCLT just past the Boileryard at Camp North End.
BONUS: Camp’s Mistletoe Market featuring booths with wares from Charlotte makers is taking place just outside BLKMRKTCLT at the same time.
Nutrient Rich and Gifts Galore at Goodyear Arts Show
The second annual Nutrient Rich event showcases a grand buffet of more than 100 small individual artworks by 26 artists of the Goodyear Arts Collective, an artist-led, nonprofit residency and events program at Camp North End.
This event is open to the public Friday, Dec. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec 11 from 5 to 8 p.m., overlapping the Mistletoe Market and Hunnid Dollar Exhibit (above). It will return Friday, Dec. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 18 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Taylor Lee Nicholson Knows Art … and Junk Food
A self-described artist, director, comedian and HUG grantee, Taylor Lee Nicolson is a jack-of-all-trades. Her new exhibition — Junk Food — features new, original work that comments on the ways we all try to “fill up” – including food, social media, TV in her signature, whimsical style.
Nicholson sees this pattern of relentless consumption as an indication of a deeper yearning, a hunger that junk food will never satisfy. See Nicholson’s work, which includes acrylics and sculptures from post-consumer materials, at The Artisan’s Palate at 1218 E. 36th Street through Dec.17.
Do Greater Gets $300K on Giving Tuesday
Last week, Jim Keffer of Keffer Auto and the Kia America Dealer Management Group presented a check for $300,000 to William “Coach” McNeely, founder of the Do Greater Foundation, for the continued development of the CRTV Lab at Shiloh Institutional Baptist Church. [CRTV = “creative.”] This new space, under construction in under-used classroom spaces inside the church, will combine a coffee shop, co-working space and space to provide training and support events for underserved youth interested in creative careers.
Do Greater Charlotte is a nonprofit facilitating exposure and access to creativity, technology and entrepreneurship to underserved, under-resourced communities. McNeely says, “We believe we are investing very early to create the next generation of creative entrepreneurs in Charlotte.”
Local Baker and Activist, Manolo Betancur, Earns National Recognition
Local baker, entrepreneur and activist, Manolo Betancur was honored, not once, but twice this month, taking home the Tiptree World Bread Award for U.S. Bread Hero and the AFP Charlotte’s Outstanding Philanthropic Small Business Award. The Charlotte Bilingual Preschool nominated Betancur for the latter. Both awards recognized him or his commitment to Charlotte’s Latinx community.
Betancur’s commitment to the community is “baked” into his business model. He regularly donates cakes from his Central Ave. bakery to organizations serving people experiencing homelessness and meals for families in need. Since 2001, he has contributed 10% of the bakery’s profits to local nonprofits.
Annual Tosco Music Holiday Party
A tradition since 2016, Tosco Music has organized a festive holiday concert each December. This year’s event will feature an eclectic mix of more than a dozen performers and plenty of singalongs, including:
- Damien Horne
- Fuzion Latina Charlotte
- G & That Jazz
- K. Omari Wilkerson
- Karla Davis
- Max Odom
- Nyla Martin
- Pete Lents
- Providence H.S. Chamber Orchestra
- Pryor Rayburn & Bob Dawson
- The Ruach
- The Young Fables
- Toni Tupponce & Tyrone Jefferson
- The Tosco Music House Band & Singalong Choir
Expect a musical selection of holiday classics and traditional Christmas carols delivered in a variety of musical genres. This year’s event is Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Knight Theater.
THEATRE AND DANCE
Caroline Calouche & Co. is Trippin’ Again
A contemporary (and slightly tipsy) twist on the classic Nutcracker story, Clara’s Trip cirque and dance show developed by Caroline Calouche & Co. will delight audiences young and old again this year.
In the show, Clara meets a young man, but her dancing lands her in the hospital where friends and gifts swirl together in her dreams. The show runs Thursday, Dec. 16 through Sunday, Dec. 10 with children’s matinee shows on the weekend at Booth Playhouse.
Okay, it’s time to eat some crow.
We have picked on Ballantyne in the past, but this year … we’ve been excited to see The Markets at 11, Jurassic Encounter and more taking place in Ballantyne’s back yard. But, when we heard about this Wednesday night’s creative shenanigans, our ears perked up. (Pun very much intended.)
Watching a giant, inflatable head of Vincent Van Gogh, organized by Blumenthal Performing Arts, hovering above Ballantyne (there were two ears … for balance, we were told) was truly surreal. It was an ideal moment to stop and say, “Damn! A lot of cool, creative stuff has happened in Charlotte this year!” – including Immersive Van Gogh at Camp North End, which ends its extended run (sadly) on Jan. 2, 2022.
And, yes, that mental trip through 2021 Queen City creativity included some really cool stuff happening in Ballantyne, too.
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